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Three Little Kittens

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Three Little Kittens

Published 1938

Story of three little kittens from shortly after the time they are born until they are old enough to "work" on the farm where they live.

Run time 10:04
Producer ERPI Classroom Films, Inc.
Sponsor N/A
Audio/Visual Sd, B&W


Contents. The story of three little kittens from shortly after the time they are born until they are old enough to "work."

A farm wife finds a mother cat with three newborn kittens in their nest in the barn. After the kittens have had their breakfast of mother's milk, the mother cat goes to the kitchen door, climbs up on the screen, and is rewarded with a breakfast of cream. Then she carefully washes her face and goes to the cellar where she sometimes catches mice.

When the kittens are two weeks old, their eyes are open and they are still living on a pile of hay in the barn. A hen scratches and pecks near them, so mother cat moves her family one at a time to a sunny spot on the seat of an old buggy outside. When one of the kittens, Curly Tail, is left alone, he is threatened by the hen, but he is soon rescued by the mother cat.

After three more weeks have passed, one of the kittens attempts to get milk from the mother cat and is refused. But a pan of milk set on the floor furnishes them all with so large a meal that their sides bulge. After dinner, the mother cat washes the kittens' faces, and then they frolic with each other and play with a ball of yarn.

At the age of two months, all the kittens have learned to wash their own faces after each meal. When the mother cat goes for a walk, all three follow. On the soft bark at the base of an apple tree, the mother cat sharpens her claws. Then she looks up and leaps into the lower branches. By this time the kittens are far behind, but they soon catch up and all but Curly Tail join their mother in the tree. Left alone on the ground, he stiffens and spits when a big dog comes close. Curly Tail is brave, but finally decides to climb the tree to safety.

When the kittens are old enough to work, there is not enough for all of them to do. So the farm wife takes two of them to town to give them away -- one to a shoemaker and the other to the postmaster. After they have been received into their new homes, the farm wife returns to the farm and picks up the third little kitten. The commentator says that this is the luckiest kitten of all.

Appraisal. Reported excellent for (1) telling the story of the experiences of three little farm kittens and (2) furnishing the basis for oral and written expression and other creative classroom activities. Found useful in (1) encouraging better care of pets and (2) instilling a desire to play together.

Teachers noted that the film was within the realm of children's experiences, was not sentimental, moved at a rate suitable for children, and did not "talk down" to the young audience. Student responses to the film were described as enthusiastic. A showing before a slow primary group, where the teacher had been unable to arouse interest or initiative, left the children eager to participate in classroom activities and initiated a change in class attitude. Slow groups in more advanced grades showed similar interest.

Photography and sound are excellent.



Reviewer: ERD - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 26, 2006
Subject: A good teaching tool
Excellent 1938 film made for elementary classes.
Effective for its time. Children learn a lot about the behavior of kittens.
Reviewer: firesong - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 2, 2006
Subject: Awww.......Kittens...
This is the kind of film I wish they had shown us in our school. This the kind of thing to maybe cheer up the real little kids on a rainy day.

On a more sober note, on the farm I grew up on the farmers were unable to give away the kittens as everyone already had a barn or houseful everywhere, so unfortunately, some had to be drowned to keep the population under control. Yes, it was cruel. They should have neutered the cats instead. They were quick to "fix" the farm's dogs, I noted.
Reviewer: GE_Pretzel - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 2, 2006
Subject: Charming portrait of rural cats
If you like cats, you'll enjoy this film. Despite being produced in the late 1930's, the quality of the photography and sound is excellent. The footage of the confrontation between the dog and one of the kittens is especially fun to watch.
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 17, 2005
Subject: Not exactly 'Private Life Of A Cat' But Oh well..
This cute little film is all about three kittensÃÂÃÂ introduction into the world. TheyÃÂÃÂre shown almost right after theyÃÂÃÂre born on a farm!! Awwww! Soon, theyÃÂÃÂre all jumping, playing., following their mom, and fighting off chickens! Soon, the lady of the house gives two of the kittens away to people in town in a way that youÃÂÃÂre not sure if theyÃÂÃÂre happy to receive them or not (ÃÂÃÂHereÃÂÃÂs your kittenÃÂÃÂ) and it ends with the narrator saying of the cat remaining on the farm ÃÂÃÂand THIS cat is the LUCKIEST of them all!ÃÂÃÂ Why is this? We never find out. Sort of strange. The film ends meekly, as all the EB films do.

The narrator of this seems to cherish the fact heÃÂÃÂs not narrating something dry, and seems to just love these cats to, with him just fawning over his lines.. (ÃÂÃÂSoon. The kittens sides are just PLUMP with milk!ÃÂÃÂ Pretty strange.
Reviewer: Hyaena - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 5, 2005
Subject: About the kittens
If I were you, I would move the mama and her babies inside. They will be much, much safer there.
Reviewer: Errin - favoritefavoritefavorite - June 10, 2005
Subject: I have a question about cats.
my cat had kittens in our garage a few weeks ago. they were in an old dog house, which was just the perfect place. but now she moved them into my dad's pickup, and he needs to use the pickup. i tried to move them into another vehicle that we won't be using, but the mother cat keeps moving them back into this pickup. what should i do? please answer
Reviewer: cashel - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 15, 2004
Subject: edit
Many will find the narration cloying, even irritating...Why not import the film to Winxp Movie Maker. There you can MUTE the audio track. To give a nostalgia look , you can add the SEPIA effect to the movie.. Then add titles to explain story and your choice of music. and save the movie..A fine film with great appeal to cat lovers. Also to those who appreciate the idyllic small town life that is very rare today
Reviewer: Anatoli Tsinovoy - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 18, 2003
Subject: The Educational Film:Three Litlle Kittens
I think that thefilm accuratly shows how kittens grow up and what they are taught by their mother,but there are a couple of things that are kind of silly,A.the kittens go to work
B.the name of the mother cat is "Mother Cat"
C.the dog vdoes'nt attack the cat and kittens (not really goofy because the the dog might of been trained not to attack cats).
But i still like the film,
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